Need easy lunch box ideas for kids? Here’s exactly what a Registered Dietitian mom packed her son for the first month of elementary school, with real life photos.
*Originally published 10/2021*
I’m often asked to share healthy lunch box ideas for kids so I put together a guide – A Month of Packed Lunches for Kids. It’s been a huge hit and given lots of parents quick and easy lunch box ideas for kids. The thing I’ve heard most frequently is that the pictures are SO helpful. A lot of you are visual people! In the packed lunch guide, there are 24 lunch ideas with photos. But I wanted to add more! So, when my oldest was in first grade, I photographed the lunches that I packed for the first month. I wanted to share some of the real life lunch boxes examples.
How To Pack Easy Lunch Box Ideas For Kids
At first, I was alternating between bentgo box lunch ideas in the Bentgo Fresh lunch box and a Lunch Bots lunch box (aff links) but I now use just the Bentgo. While I like that the Lunch Bots one is stainless steel, it’s not completely leakproof even with the silicone cup inserts and my son found it a little hard to get open.
I pack the Bentgo box every evening and store in the fridge. In the morning, I put it inside this Arctic Zone insulated lunch bag and add an ice pack. My son eats all of the foods I send cold/room temperature. Even things like quesadillas and tortellini that he’s used to eating warm at home. So far it hasn’t been an issue at all for him but some kids don’t like changes in temperature. In that case you could invest in a thermos or practice eating things at different temperatures at home so they get used to it.
Photos of Easy School Lunch Ideas For Kids
So here are some of the actual lunch boxes I packed. I snapped a photo every day and then just used Pixlr to remove the countertop in the background and make them prettier to look at. A few things to note-
- Our school is not nut-free.
- Reminder that even if you kids prefer a similar lunch every day, there are ways you can add variety – try prezel sticks one day and twists the next. Try a peanut butter and jelly on bread one day, then on a sandwich thin or pita the next, etc!
- There’s nothing wrong with hard-boiled egg yolks, my kids just don’t like them.
Easy Kids Lunch Box Ideas
#1 Quick Kids Lunch Box Ideas – with hard-boiled eggs
- Motts Applesauce
- Cheese stick
- Hard-boiled eggs
#2 Simple Kids Lunch Box with turkey sandwich
- Quaker Reduced Sugar Granola Bar
- Turkey & Cheese on Brownberry Sandwich Thin
- Ants on a log
#3 Easy Lunch Box Idea for Kids – Homemade Lunchable
- Wheat Thins
- GF Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Applegate pepperoni
- Dietz and Watson Originals Organic Turkey
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Chobani less sugar yogurt
#4 Nutritious Kids Lunch Ideas – with Chicken Sausage
- Zucchini Apple Muffin
- Simple Mills Almond crackers
- Buttered Corn
- Al Fresco Chicken Sausage
- Cottage Cheese
#5 Quick and easy lunch box idea for kids with Pepperoni Egg Wrap
- Simple Mills Banana Bread
- Sun Chips
- Pepperoni and Cheese Egg Wrap
- Carrots with ranch
#6 Cold lunch ideas for kids with turkey roll-up
- Crinkle carrot, carrot ribbon, mini pepper
- Wheat Thins
- Dried pears (i get them at Costco)
- Bush’s Baked beans
- Turkey wrapped mozzarella cheese stick
- Trail Mix with pepitas, Cheerios, raisins and mini marshmallows
#7 Kiddies lunch box ideas with chicken nuggets
- Cheese and Triscuit thins
- Canned pineapple
- Kidfresh Foods Chicken Nuggets with ketchup
- Stonyfield yogurt tube
#8 Simple lunchbox ideas for kids – Quesadilla
- Tortilla chips with Good Foods avocado mash
- Cheese quesadilla
- Hard-boiled egg
- Reduced sugar fruit snacks
#9 Good lunch box ideas for kids – PBJ Mini bagel
- Peanut butter and jelly mini bagel
- Chomps beef stick + cheese stick + cherry tomatoes
- Fruit salad
- Banana bread
#10 Kids bento box ideas – turkey pickle wrap
- Lentil Banana Muffin
- Graham cracker
- Turkey pepperoni pickle roll-up
- Roasted broccoli
- Dates with peanut butter
#11 – Healthy lunch box ideas for kids – egg waffle and mini pancakes
- Kodiak Cakes mini pancakes
- Egg Waffle
- Carrot Banana muffin
#12- Easy lunch box ideas for kids – mini pizza
- Ants on a log
- Golden kiwi
- English muffin mini pizza
- Wheat Thins
So there you go – There are 12 of the first 30 lunch boxes I packed for my son. Want to see the other 18? Check out my Month of Packed Lunches for Kids guide!
Cold Lunch Ideas for Kids
HERE’S WHAT’S IN YOUR PACKED LUNCH IDEAS FOR KIDS PDF:
- Product recommendations – I share my favorite lunch boxes.
- Prep ahead tips – A few tips for things you can prep ahead of time in the fridge and freezer to make lunch packing easier.
- Lunch Packing Cheat Sheet – lunch ideas divided into protein, carbs, vegetables, fruits and snacks so you can mix and match from each category to pack a balanced lunch quickly.
- 24 lunch box photos – full-color photos of bento-style lunch boxes showcasing different lunch item ideas
- Nut-free product recommendations – If your school is nut-free, here are some peanut/tree nut-free snacks you can pack for your kiddos.
- BONUS REAL-LIFE LUNCH BOXES PDF! (Where I share the other 18 real-life lunch boxes!
–> GRAB YOUR COPY OF THE PACKED LUNCH IDEAS FOR KIDS PDF <–
Bento Box Lunch Ideas For Kids
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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but I find your content so valuable! Thank you
I’m wondering if you would suggest allowing a 10 year old who is just finishing up grade 4 to put together their own school lunches?
Thanks so much!
Oh! And are these lunch examples for your oldest child? How old is he, just curious